SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Saddest Day

For almost six months we had this beautiful girl in our home. Neon was an AFS student from Thailand who needed a new family last February and we got to be that family. She was not only beautiful on the outside with her infectious smile and graceful mannerisms. But her patience, kindness, sense of humor, melodious laugh, and willingness to be a part of our family and lives in every way completely won over our hearts. She was only with us for four days when she asked if she could call me "Mom".

Neon spent time where we were. If I was in the kitchen she was there talking and helping wash and cut vegetables, if I was in the garden she was talking with me and weeding by my side. If someone had a ballgame she was in the stands with us. If we sat down for a movie and popcorn she was curled on the couch, too. Neon never seemed to be pressing her own agenda, but fully living as a member of the family. She found ways to connect with each person, show interest in their lives, and help lift their spirits. She loved Gabe and had more patience with him than just about anyone I've ever seen. Of course, she had her own friends and activities. She kept the details logged on her space on the calendar and would remind me, "Mom, I'm going to Minocqua with friends today," or "Catherine is picking me up tomorrow at 12:00", or "my art club is over at 4:00, can you pick me up?". In her calendar space on June 30 she wrote, "The saddest day".

Neon didn't have an enormous circle of friends, but the small group she had was close and real. The tears shed upon their good-byes were not manufactured. And when we waved at her through the bus windows yesterday neither were mine. Yesterday, she was very sad. But tomorrow she'll be happy again and Thailand will be a little better off as it welcomes home one of it's true jewels.

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